Essay on Why There Was Conflict Between White and Black Australians in the Ninteenth Century

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The relationship between black and white Australians has not surprisingly been based on myth and misunderstanding ever since the first contact between the foreign English and the native Aboriginals at Port Jackson in 1788. The British believed they were confronting primitive savages, with the capacity for any acts of barbarianism, while the Aboriginals who had never seen human beings with white skin and clothes believed they were seeing the return of the spirits of long dead Aboriginals. If there has been a softening of attitude, a growing towards mutual understanding and tolerance since then history would show that it has been the Aboriginals who have made the greater sacrifices.

European ships chiefly began sailing into southern Australian waters in the 18th century. These left human cargoes behind and unlike earlier visitors had an immediate impact on the Aborigines, who suffered interference with their economy and lifestyle as the colonists, sought and secured for themselves good sources of water, sheltered positions and access to fish, all of which were also vital to Aboriginal people. The Aborigines responded in a variety of different ways to the presence of Europeans in their country. While some were welcoming, others reacted with hostility and sometimes Aboriginal peoples living close to the site of a landing by Europeans were killed. As the colonists, whose guns gave them the advantage over the Aborigines, made it plain they intended to remain and began altering the landscape, clearing trees and building fences, resistance grew among the Aboriginal people and they suffered increasing numbers of casualties. As the settlements expanded, Aboriginal numbers declined and their ways of life in many areas were destroyed with survivors beginning to live within or on the fringes of the new European communities. In addition, diseases such as smallpox, venereal...
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